The fact that you are here means you got burned once already. The police have charged you - perhaps it’s a DUI (impaired or over 80) - or maybe a domestic assault or a drug charge. Now you have to go to court and sort it out.

Whether you hire me, or decide to hire another lawyer, I will tell you how to make sure you DON’T GET BURNED AGAIN.


You need to feel comfortable with your lawyer. Meet at the lawyer’s office and ask whether they specialize in criminal law or if they do other work as well. How much experience does the lawyer have? Is the lawyer’s office close to the court you are going to? lf not, does the lawyer know the Crown Attorneys and Judges? Go to the court where your charges are and see what's going on. Meet with a few lawyers if you like before you decide

Watch out for paralegals and court agents ("Ticket fighters”, ex-cops, etc...). They do not have the level of education or training that lawyers have. They will probably act as a "middleman" and direct you to a certain lawyer they have an arrangement with. Finally, their fees are no lower than what most lawyers would charge for the minor cases they are allowed to deal with.

Referrals from friends and relatives may be helpful but remember; one recommendation can be misleading. Your friend's case is different from yours and you have no way of knowing whether that lawyer really did a good job. Maybe he got lucky. Maybe your friend thinks he got a good result because of what his lawyer told him, when in fact he got "dumped".

"Dump Truck” is a derogatory term used by people who know the system to describe lawyers who plead all or most of their clients guilty. They don't fight. They don't do trials. Make sure the lawyer you hire isn’t a dump truck. Ask how many trials they do. Dump trucks often lead their clients to believe they are facing severe sentences so that the deal they negotiate looks that much better. Remember, first offenders rarely receive any jail time unless they have committed a serious crime involving violence, drug trafficking, sex offences or big thefts/frauds.

Take your time to think about who you are hiring. You may want to wait until after your first court appearance so that you have the disclosure and the Charge Screening Form. The court will always adjourn your case to allow you to do this if you ask.



Always discuss fees in advance with your lawyer. Make sure you understand and agree with what you are paying. For most criminal charges a standard or set fee should be available. Fees for guilty pleas should be much less than trial fees. There may be some complicated cases where a lawyer cannot provide a firm quote or a standard fee but, for most criminal charges your lawyer should be able to commit to a standard fee or block fee. If you already have the disclosure and Crown Screening Form and you know that the Crown is agreeing to Diversion, and you want to accept this offer, you may not need to pay a lawyer at all. If you have already retained a lawyer prior to you first court appearance and your case is eligible for Diversion you should speak to your lawyer immediately about fees. You may wind up paying a lot of money for a result you could have obtained on your own without a lawyer. There are situations where your lawyer may persuade the Crown Attorney to agree to Diversion when originally they were seeking a different penalty and this is entirely different.



Criminal records can impact all aspects of your life for years to come. Contrary to a widely held belief, youth court records ARE NOT ERASED automatically when you turn 18. They can pop up years later during a job application or if further charges arise.

Make sure you get good legal advice you understand and are comfortable with before you make any decisions about your charges.


1. For almost all criminal cases I will quote a set fee and put it in writing. For complicated cases I will give a reasonable estimate.

2. If you want to attend your first court appearance in person before you retain me I will help you do this at no charge. Cali me and either I or one of my associates will make sure you get in and out of court quickly and smoothly.

3. If you do not want to appear in person at court you can arrange for me to appear for you. I will need to be retained in advance of your court appearance in order to appear for you.

4. If your case is likely a Diversion (first offender, marijuana possession, theft under etc...) I will tell you that up front and I will not charge you any fee. It is different if I persuade the Crown to agree to Diversion in a case where originally a different penalty is sought.